back to article Sub-Prime: Amazon's big day marred by server crashes, staff strikes

Amazon's 36-hour "Prime Day" marketing jamboree has kicked off with more than a few hiccups. Almost as soon as it started, Amazon customers eager to indulge in an orgy of consumption found their purchasing plans paralyzed – because Amazon's servers refused to accept payment details. Wannabe buyers grew increasingly frustrated …

  1. Mayday Silver badge
    Coat

    I wonder...

    ...if they can blame this on the mob who hosts their web presence?

    1. eamonn_gaffey

      Re: I wonder...

      The service contract might make for interesting reading.......

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  3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Meanwhile, at amazon.com.au...

    *crickets*

    Nobody knew about it and there doesn't appear to be anything worth buying there anyway (i.e. business as usual for amazon.com.au). Imagine amazon.com without any of the interesting products and the Australia Tax alive and well. At least it avoids the reverse buyer's remorse from not getting a better price on something because you refuse to participate.

    1. julian.smith

      Re: Meanwhile, at amazon.com.au...

      I (sort of) agree

      Amazon US (real Amazon) has:

      - a thriving Japanese business (amazon.co.jp)

      - no problem shipping to Japan and charging Japanese tax, which is more complex than Australia's simple 10%

      Amazon Japan, to some extent Amazon UK (don't know but I suspect Amazon Germany +++) have relatively competitive prices ie. they want to do business in that country

      Amazon AU will end up as a business school case study in failed market entry.

      EBay (and also Gearbest, BangGood , AliExpress +++) have taken the tax changes in their stride and are eating their lunch

      Their offerings are orders of magnitude more comprehensive than Amazon AU (last time I looked there were no sellers of Samsung SD cards, FFS)

      Amazon AU wasn't bothered by surging demand ... and won't be until they have a competitive offering .... talk about leaving money on the table!

  4. IceC0ld Silver badge

    Mr Amazon gets richer

    this will probably be the ONLY time Mr Gates gets proper admiration / respect, as he has tried to help end suffering in various guises around the world, using his own funds to achieve this, as opposed to the new Mr Nasty, who is going to burn up a lot of $$ send just a handful of VERY well paying guests into a sub orbit ride for a few minutes to see earth as it cannot be seen from anywhere else, apart from ISS / Google maps etc :oP

    maybe we can hope the man gets a healthy dose of reality, and pays his staff a proper rate of recompense, maybe they won't need to pee in bottles so they don't fall behind their pack and pack schedule, but I doubt I will be around to see that .................

    1. angardner

      Re: Mr Amazon gets richer

      Maybe Bezos waits till he has $300 billion then then he will start giving away? Once these obscenely rich people have grown out of their thirst for continuous success they should give all their money away, change identity and live a simple life. That's what I'd do.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Mr Amazon gets richer

        Pretty sure Bezos can't spend $150 billion on stuff like that, he'll have to give it away at some point since even starting money losing companies would require some serious scale to make a dent in that pile. Especially if it keeps growing.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At DougS, re: gobs of cash...

          I'd love the chance to try & spend it all. I promise to not let it get to my head.

          "Dear Lord, please let me prove that getting richer than You won't spoil me!"

          =-D

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "Once these obscenely rich people have grown out of their thirst for continuous success"

        Um, as far as I can tell, that never happens.

        Bill Gates is the exception to that rule, which, as any Frenchmen knows, proves the rule.

        L'exception confirme la règle

        1. Nunyabiznes

          Re: "Once these obscenely rich people have grown out of their thirst for continuous success"

          Warren Buffet is trying pretty hard, in conjunction with Bill and Melinda Gates. And I think Melinda should get more credit than she does. She married the money and then tamed some of Bill's more anti-social/business behaviors. Then started giving the money away.

          There are quite a few more, but they don't get the press that Musk, Bezos, et al get. They quietly amassed fortunes and are quietly giving them back without fanfare because they are intrinsically good people who happen to be good at money management and/or lucky.

          1. HmmmYes Silver badge

            Re: "Once these obscenely rich people have grown out of their thirst for continuous success"

            I once shared a lift with Bill G.

            If shes managed to get him to shower then she deserves lots of credit.

  5. YourNameHere

    Some people???

    I cant even search on the non prime part of the site! The only thing I can do is click on the links that are shown and if I want to step through 30 links then it works. But even then it crashes. Almost, completely useless....

    Who wants to bet that we will be seeing an extension and/or here's a $5 dollar discount for your issues...

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Clickbait News?

    Almost all such titles forgot to mention they get a cut of everything a reader buys if they click on the links in the story.

    Been a lot of that the few days... all about the special deals at Amazon and generally, the headlines link to some "news" site that is just clickbait. I'm thinking some companies got paid to do some stories first (with links to the stuff) and then touted that these stories were going "viral" (I hate that term). Other media picked it up and basically reprinted the story with links, etc. And so it goes...

  7. DerGoat
    Pint

    Prime Day is Bogus

    Bogus = Not really a thing, a bad deal.

    Really, I don't understand the whole whoopla over Prime day. I spent a total of $35 on stuff. Saved $5 on a game for the kids and maybe half off on a 256GB SD card for my phone ($20), and the SD card wasn't even featured. This looks like a manufacturered event to me.

    A fool and his money ... soon parted.

    But I love the free shipping. I use the hell out of that. Well worth the $100 membership fee. Prime video? Interface is so poor I never use it.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Prime Day is Bogus

      "But I love the free shipping. I use the hell out of that. Well worth the $100 membership fee."

      I refuse to pay the so called membership fee; despite the endless coaxing by Amazon for me to sign up to prime. I just wait until I've got £20 worth of things to order and get free delivery anyway.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Prime Day is Bogus

        Took a quick look. Amazon is where my birthday gifts (i.e. vouchers) live. And have been there for a couple of years already. So I'd have liked to find a bargain or two to spend some on.

        Nowt.

        Don't get it. There are the usual discounts on items I don't want. And the usual nothing on the things I do want. Which may well be how the algorithm works.

        Stuff 'em.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prime Day is Bogus

        I go a bit further, I copy the product name on amazon, go to ebay and buy it (somewhat) cheaper. Essentially, amazon and ebay are the only two "shops" left online. Sure, you can go to ebuyer and dabs (oops, sorry!) and a few other usual suspects, but I have noticed, over the last couple of years, they hardly ever offer anything I need for lower prices than ebay (whey they sell too). So, the long-term plan by amazon and google is already beginning to pay off - squeeze out ALL competition and all the profit comes your way. Not a monopoly, mind you! Not even a duopoly. After all, ANYBODY can set up an online shop and compete with amazon and ebay, that's called capitalism! :)

    2. deive

      Re: Prime Day is Bogus

      It was worth it at 30 before they forced added all the streaming stuff. I just want the delivery, oh well nothing for them instead then!

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Prime Day is Bogus

      Yep.

      One item that I'm familiar with has had the following price trajectory:

      $200, $150, $130, $99, $129, $99, Just before Prime Day: $249, Prime Day: $129.

      Many similar examples of what amounts to blatant False Advertising.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Prime Day is Bogus

        Yup. I almost bought a Dremel at 50% Prime Day reduction.

        But when I got to checkout I noticed that most of the reduction was pre-existing and the Prime Day reduction was just an extra 13%. It was still a good deal being a 50% reduction compared to the Argos price for the same thing. But I cancelled. I reckon if I really wanted it it would be available at other places, or at another time too. And for a measly 13% extra reduction I'll take the risk they can take a hike.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prime Day is Bogus

      I, mostly, use Amazon to get an idea of the price, check the reviews and then order it from a smaller retailer or buy it locally. I only buy from there if the price is a lot higher everywhere else so sometimes I do buy from them.

  8. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I like the Reality disconnect...

    Another phrase for Amazon's "Prime Day" that the media likes to banter about is "Black Friday in July"...

    Which is happening on a Monday.

    I think the site being unable to cope is just the servers having a mental brainfart while they try to wrap their minds around the Reality disconnect. =-)p

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it wasn't for their misfortune, they'd be heavenly people today

      ""Black Friday in July"... Which is happening on a Monday."

      They should call it "Blue Monday", then. I wonder how Amazon's customers feel when it treats them the way it does.

  9. msknight Silver badge

    I did write to the Gates Foundation...

    Gates is not only giving away his fortune but he has the ears of other rich, influential people.

    I basically wrote to him on the grounds that it's pointless geting infeasibly rich, then looking back on your life and all the shoulders you've ground into the dust in order to get there, only to give it all away at the end. Also, sucking the world dry of cash means that, in the end, no one has any money to buy your goods and the whole pack of cards falls down anyway. Better to pay people a decent wage and grow society as a whole, over the course of your life; then people stand a chance of remembering you as a fair and inspirational leader, rather than a greedy destroyer of society.

    Or in other words, trickle down only works if the cash actually trickles.

    I did leave a similar note on Bezos's twitter as well, a few months ago. My conclusion... why ask for people's advice if you're not going to listen anyway?

    Nothing's going to happen as a result of my e-mails/tweets... but hey, you gotta try.

    1. Paul 195

      Re: I did write to the Gates Foundation...

      To be fair to Mr Gates, although Microsoft in their evil empire heyday of the late 90s were notorious for crushing their competitors to dust, nobody ever suggested that they treated their staff badly to the point where they had to pee in bottles etc... or that they paid them as little as they could get away with.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: I did write to the Gates Foundation...

        The worst thing I've ever heard about Microsoft as an employer is that they can be very bureaucratic.

        1. John70

          Re: I did write to the Gates Foundation...

          The worst thing I've ever heard about Microsoft as an employer is that they can be very bureaucratic.

          So basically like any other company.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      WTF?

      What would you have him do ?

      "..it's pointless geting infeasibly rich, then looking back on your life and all the shoulders you've ground into the dust in order to get there, only to give it all away at the end"

      Um, I would think that solving a deadly disease problem is something that a minimum-wage worker would have a bit of trouble doing.

      So, what do you think he should have done ? Build a Coliseum and reinstate gladiator fights ?

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: I did write to the Gates Foundation...

      Or in other words, trickle down only works if the cash actually trickles.

      That's not how trickle down economics is supposed to work.

      The idea is that things that are extremely expensive now will in future be affordable to people on the average salary. Todays lower earner can buy a faster, safer, more comfortable car than your 1980s rich man (Ferrari 308 vs Fiesta ST with Mountune pack).

      Anyone can today buy a computer that would have been state of the art 20 years ago for nearly no money at all - less than £100.

      £100 will today buy a web enabled phone that can stream live TV / movies and provide near instant access to information or educational opportunities on the internet. That wasn't available at any price 20 years ago.

      There is no component of trickle down economics that suggests or implies that because "I" am a millionaire today, "you" will be tomorrow. "My" spending £200 quid on dinner in a poncey restaurant provides employment for the staff who then spend some wages in Gaucho grill, who's staff then spend some of their wages eating at Pizzahut, providing employment for their staff, who then spend some of their wages in Greggs, providing employment for their staff, and so it goes. That's as close to a cash component of trickle down economics as is intended to exist: it's more about hedonic regression than M0 transfers.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: I did write to the Gates Foundation...

        No. That stuff about things being more affordable is nothing to do with it, Even the rest of the comment isn't quite there with it.

        Trickle down is very explicitly the view that as the top get richer they will increase prosperity for the rungs below. Rising tide lifts all boats etc.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle-down_economics

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: I did write to the Gates Foundation...

          Sorry Terry, but that increasing prospertiy IS the "being more affordable" thing. What its not is waves of cash washing over everyone.

          In the process of making himself the richest person on the planet, has Bezos also made me richer? Well, yes, on three fronts. Literally richer, due to owning Amazon shares. I've bought a lot of stuff cheaper than it was previously available (most of my MSc books were second hand and cost me £1), allowing me to redeploy the cash into more assets. And new technologies that have enabled me to roll out a ocuple of side businesses that are starting to bring home small amounts of bacon. And everyone likes bacon.

          Trickledown is expressly not the idea that because there are millionaires today we'll all be rich tomorrow. The trappings of success accrue, as ever, to those that are successful. Those that never try to be more or achieve more will never have more, and well, whose fault is that really?

  10. nuked

    No press is bad press, especially when you have a live sale...

  11. whatsyourShtoile
    Big Brother

    The feeling is definitely there

    It's a new morning in America… fresh, vital. The old cynicism is gone. We have faith in our leaders. We're optimistic as to what becomes of it all. Many are shopping successfully - it really boils down to our ability to accept. We don't need pessimism. There are no limits

  12. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Prime day?

    pah! Stromness has a whole week of shopping!

    http://stromnessshoppingweek.co.uk/

    https://www.orcadian.co.uk/annual-hack-kicks-off-week-of-stromness-festivities/

    Links are SFW

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: indulge in an orgy of consumption

    what's wrong with indulging in an orgy of consumption in this fine, plastic-fantastic world? I, for one, welcome Jeff, our new consumptionist overlord!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: re: indulge in an orgy of consumption

      Ladies and gentlemen, let the 2018 games begin!

  14. Andy 97

    Broke Alexa..

    Last night, try as I might, Alexa coudn't talk to the Mother Ship.

    I changed wifi connections and still no Alexa.

    Today, all my devices demanded that I login again.

    Perhaps this problem may be more "security-based", perhaps some unsavoury people trying to crash the mighty Amazon.

    Sadly in the world of MNDA's for employees, we'll never know.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Broke Alexa..

      Make sure you write down any conversations you had whilst Alexa was down, so you can email them in to Amazon in case they missed eavesdropping on them.

  15. David Gosnell

    Fools and their money evidently not quite so easily parted

    Prime Day is all about getting new Prime subscriptions, very little about unrepeatable bargains. Don't hear so much about Prime Plus One Month Day, when all those forgotten subscriptions start charging, and end up costing considerably more than the amount "saved" on the original purchase.

  16. RobertLongshaft

    As if the richest men in the world would allow the common muck to know their names let alone the size of their wealth.

  17. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Seriously snowflake?

    The employer has the responsibility to provide for the physical and mental well-being of its employees?????

    No it doesn't; you do. How about this... listen better in school, buckle down, and get an education. Then you wouldn't have to work in a warehouse.

    Perhaps you should try a job outdoors, in the elements... like many jobs.

    Perhaps try putting your life on the line, such as first responders.

    Maybe try high rise construction or trash collection.

    Waaaah.. underpaid. No you're not. Look at the thousands of other occupations out there where it takes a lot more to collect a paycheck. Taking an order, tossing it in a box, putting it on a truck... etc. Not exactly worthy of high wages. You don't see most people working in department stores driving the newest cars.

    Quit using WANT, want, WANT, and start using earn EARN earn.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Seriously snowflake?

      @ Aodhhan

      "Maybe try high rise construction or trash collection"

      From what I have heard the warehouse guys walk a lot of miles, and lift lots of packages. So not dissimilar from "trash collection" bar indoors

      "No it doesn't; you do. How about this... listen better in school, buckle down, and get an education. Then you wouldn't have to work in a warehouse."

      Plenty of UK people with degrees who are doing "McJobs" (shops, restaurants, warehouses, cleaning etc.)- as lots more people with degrees than degree level jobs available.

      1. Qarumba

        Re: Seriously snowflake?

        Plenty of UK people with meaningless degrees who are doing "McJobs" (shops, restaurants, warehouses, cleaning etc.)- as lots more people with meaningless degrees than meaningless degree level jobs available.

        FTFY

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Seriously snowflake?

        Plenty of UK people with degrees who are doing "McJobs" (shops, restaurants, warehouses, cleaning etc.)- as lots more people with degrees than degree level jobs available.

        With proper degrees? Anyone studying politics, history, geography etc may well earn a degree, but they know before they undertake the study it isn't going to be an economically viable choice - there's no career at the end of it to make use of it.

        With a free choice of what subject to study, and a well documented shortage of good STEM people, I'm puzzled as to why anyone would be concerned that media studies and art history don't produce a lucrative career. Presumably they're studying for its own sake, which is a worthwhile endeavour, but conveys no requirement on their future employers to pay them more when the knowledge and skills gained have no bearing on the role being performed.

    2. julian.smith
      Holmes

      Re: Seriously snowflake?

      Ain't that America something to see ...

      Enjoy your broken society .... and your compromised, traitor President (Moscow's Man)

      LMAO

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Seriously snowflake?

      No it doesn't; you do. How about this... listen better in school, buckle down, and get an education. Then you wouldn't have to work in a warehouse.

      Spot on.

      Everyone in this country is compelled to attend a school that the tax payer pays a heck of a lot of money for. Wasting that opportunity by fucking around has consequences. Some of those consequences are life long. This isn't secret knowledge. It isn't even new knowledge. There's no reason to feel sorry for such people; their work life is played for and got. In most cases it is literally nobody's fault but their own.

    4. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Seriously snowflake?

      >>The employer has the responsibility to provide for the physical and mental well-being of its employees?????

      >No it doesn't; you do.

      So if you found out that unknown to you your office had broken asbestos pipe lagging then you'd be happy with that?

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Seriously snowflake?

        >>The employer has the responsibility to provide for the physical and mental well-being of its employees?????

        >No it doesn't; you do.

        So if you found out that unknown to you your office had broken asbestos pipe lagging then you'd be happy with that?

        You seem to have assumed that well-being means comply with minimal health and safety law. The asbestos pipe is a health and safety law issue, not well-being. Well-being hopefully has a little more to it than not willfully killing your staff, no?

  18. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    dialogue..

    we are committed to dialogue, which is an inseparable part of our culture

    As long as you accept the definition of "dialogue" as "we tell you what to do and , if you don't do it, we fire you".

    Not quite modern slavery but pretty close. And, as numerous other US companies[1] have discovered, the employment rules in the EU are somewhat different..

    [1] Like a certain cellular basestation company I used to work for. New (utterly un-needed) IT manager is deployed to us from the US[2]. He decides that we all are now going to carry pagers[3] and, no, he won't pay us extra for doing so. We refused. He threatened to sack us. We laughed at him. He went apoplectic and went into HR to 'get you all fired'. Senior HR person spends the next hour reaming him a new one. We laugh at him. IT director does the usual thing that they did with incompetent managers - promoted him and gave him a role with no power or responsibility (or staff). After about a year he gets tired of this and quits. We laugh at him.

    [2] They never, ever seemed to sack managers once they got to a particular grade. Even if they were utter morons or sociopaths.

    [3] We already had a callout system where one of us carried the team pager for a month - with a nice bonus for doing so and double-time if we were ever called out. I think that I got called out once in 18 months. The only downside was that it meant that you couldn't drink when you carried the pager since you had to be available at all hours and it was a strictly 'no alcohol' site.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am hoping for trickle up fiscal policies. The money always floats to the “top” anyway.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      I am hoping for trickle up fiscal policies. The money always floats to the “top” anyway.

      That's in the Wikip article too. But the neocons who are in control wouldn't like that. Trickle down is an excuse to let them do what they want, not a real economic phenomenon. Which is why the gap between (very) rich and poor has widened so much, There's fuck all trickling down, it's all accumulating in off-shore and concealed ( as in property left empty) investments.

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